Author: Anria Lalumin
Disclaimer: not mine. Whoopie doo-dah, big surprise there!
Warnings: yaoi, probable OOC, that's it right now.
Pairings: 1x3, also 2+1 and 2+3, and aiming for 1x2x3. And this is the point where you all run screaming. . .

Thinking About Forever + Part 1

It had taken a lot of guts for the two most reticent of the pilots to tell the other how they felt about them. Hell, it had taken a lot of guts for them to allow themselves to feel something. And then, after it was all over, it took several false starts and a lot of stammering to let themselves become public about it.

Trowa and Heero had spoken about it at length -- a conversation that had actually spanned several days, with gaps of perhaps a few hours in between the next comment. Both were more inclined to work things out for themselves, even though it had been proven to them that at times that was not the wisest of things to do, and that another's input was occasionally needed. Both had agreed that they owed their emotional development mainly to Duo, and partly to Quatre. Heero owed his solely to Duo, who had never given up on him even long after all the others had.

So, it was mostly Duo's fault that they had allowed themselves to feel anything like what they currently felt for each other. And so they owed it to him to show him how far he had made them progress. That, they reasoned, would make him happy, and pay him back in part for all he done for them.

Heero sometimes wondered if they had chosen each other not because they were truly, deeply in love (or lust) but more as the safest choice. After all, they were very similar -- both in their childhood experiences and subsequent personalities. Perhaps it was soldier training kicking in and not allowing them to ever consider and true relationship outside of their group, in case they were compromised. Perhaps it was like calling to like, offering the partial sanctuary of fighting alongside someone with the same demons, the same problems, the same memories. Maybe it was for each to build up their confidence, that they could love and be loved, before moving on to what they really wanted.

Maybe it was true love.

But whatever the reason was, they were together and they were happy. And they owed to the person who had made their happiness possible to know what he had done for the both of them. After all, they reasoned, if he had been delighted to see the smallest evidence of a happy future, he would be overjoyed to see them now.

Wouldn't he?

+

"Any of you guys know what's goin' on?" Duo asked, bouncing around the private room of the exclusive restaurant Quatre had reserved for them. The braided pilot checked his watch again. "Damn, they're late! Mr Anal-Retentive and his Silent Sidekick are late!"

"Calm down, Duo," Wufei said. "They'll be here."

"Correction, they are here," Quatre said, smiling and standing to wave through the door to Trowa and Heero. Heero gave a curt nod in acknowledgment of the gesture and the two made their way up to the room, drawing stares from the well-dressed guests at their casual jeans and jackets.

"Hey, Tro! Hee-chan! Have you two been stealing from each other's wardrobes or somethin'? You look like the Bobsey twins!" was Duo's enthusiastic greeting. He bounced over to the two of them, grabbing their hands and dragging them over the table, kicking the door shut. "How've you been? I haven't seen you lot in ages!"

"Two weeks," Wufei corrected.

"See, ages!" Duo's grin wasn't his truly happy one, but nor was it his usual mask. It took some interpretation to read Duo's expressions and determine what he was really feeling, but the others had all become adept at it -- or at least, adept enough to know that Duo was happy to see them. "So what've you been up to? How've you been? Have you decided on a job, or have you decided to go back to school? In trouble for hacking yet, Heero? How's Catherine, Tro? What did you want to tell us? Do you like the place Q swiped for us? You could have dressed up, y'know! After all, Q-bean did go to all the trouble of booking us this place so you could make your announcement! So what's up?"

"Duo!" Quatre burst out, manners unable to stop him from interrupting. "At least give them a chance to answer," he said when the babbling pilot shut up and looked at him.

"Oh, okay!" Duo dropped into a seat, grinning up at the two bemused boys. Wufei rolled his eyes.

"Let's eat first," Heero said, as laconic as ever. He dropped his jacket onto the back of the chair, revealing he was still wearing that damn tanktop.

"Heero, do you ever wash that thing?"

"Duo! Don't be so mean!"

"Fine, fine, I'll stop bugging Heero. Tro, does he ever wash that damn thing?"

One corner of Trowa's mouth twitched up as he copied Heero, revealing that not one part of his garb during the wars had changed, unlike Heero, who had finally gotten rid of the spandex. "Not to my knowledge," he replied quietly. Heero glared at him, which only made Trowa's mouth twitch a little higher.

Duo, meanwhile, was laughing his ass off.

"Well, let's take this opportunity to catch up, shall we?" Quatre asked, picking up the menu and smiling his angelic smile at the table. Duo noticed and quirked an eyebrow at him. Why the mask? he asked with his eyes. Quatre moved the menu to shield his face from all the others and gave him a truly devilish grin.

Oh, shit, Duo thought, Q's planning a prank. I hope it's not on me. . . .

Quatre re-affixed the angelic smile onto his face and removed the shield of the menu. "Does anyone have any preferences for dinner?" he inquired, knowing full damn well that they would all choose their favourites.

"Do they have curry here, Q?" Duo asked, trying to read the flowing script of the menu without squinting so much he went cross-eyed.

"If they don't, just request it and the chef will make it for you," Quatre said. "This is one of the few upper class restaurants that tries to cater to all tastes, after all."

"Most restaurants don't do that," Wufei said. He laid the menu down on the table and informed them all he would be ordering wonton noodle soup. Which caused Duo to make a really off-colour crack about Wufei's preferences, which led Wufei to begin ranting about Duo being an uncouth boy with no sense of taste or good food, which led Duo to stick his tongue out at the Chinese boy and start arguing back.

Trowa glanced over at Heero, who was watching the two bicker with a smirk on his face. "Just like old times," he said softly.

Heero glanced back at him, a smile tugging on the smirk telling it that it had had enough airing time and it was his go now. "Yes, it is," he said, equally softly.

Quatre frowned at the two of them. What was going on there?

He was saved from considering it any further when the maitre d' appeared and began taking down their orders. Hell, he did have the head of Winner Incorporated sitting in one of his private rooms, after all. Wufei and Duo managed to refrain from their customary sniping while the snobbish man was still in the room, and Quatre forestalled a repeat of that performance by jumping in after the maitre d' left before Duo could open his mouth.

"So, what did you want to tell us?" Quatre asked Heero and Trowa, smiling at them. The whole reason they were in the restaurant to begin with was because the two had called them up and asked if they could meet somewhere for them to give them important news. "Nothing bad, I hope."

"No," Heero grunted.

Duo, Quatre and Wufei waited for him to continue.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited even more.

And -- "Oh for the love of God, would you just tell us?!" Duo burst out.

Heero and Trowa looked at each other. "You tell them," Heero said.

"You talk more than I do."

"So? You're better at it than me."

"What has that go to do with -- "

"Um, excuse me? Hello? Can you guys stop arguing over who's gonna tell us and just tell us already?" Duo interrupted.

The two boys in question looked at each other, looked away, looked down, looked up, looked anywhere but at any of the other four boys.

"Heero! Trowa!"

"Fine, I'll tell them," Trowa ground out. "Um, you see, the reason we wanted to talk to you is . . . well, it's . . . we wanted to tell you. . . ."

"We're together," Heero burst out.

There was silence for a moment.

Then, "Together? Do you guys mean together as in banging each other into the mattress?"

"Duo!"

"Oh, jeez, Q-man, how else was I supposed to say it?"

"Duo's right," Heero said quietly, before Quatre could say anything else. "We are together . . . like that."

"Only in less vulgar terms, am I correct?" Wufei said, smirking. The two boys quickly looked at him to see his smile/smirk, and a hope for the positive reactions of their friends began to drown out the fear of rejection because of their preferences. The last of their fears about Wufei -- who had always seemed the most upright and rigidly moral of them all -- were slaughtered at his next words (or rather, word). "Congratulations."

"Thank you," Trowa told him. The three turned back to the last two.

Quatre was gaping at them like a landed fish. "I -- what -- I didn't -- " he swallowed and got himself under control, and then suddenly a smile that would have sat well on the devil blossomed on his face. "Guys, that's great! I had no idea! How long? How did you get together? What happened?" Quatre stopped suddenly. "Oh God, I sound like Duo!"

The comment, and Quatre's behaviour, dragged a laugh from the other three. The fifth member of their group, though, was having some difficulty understanding his reaction to their announcement.

Why aren't I happy. . . ? I should be jumping for joy that they've come far enough to get into a stable relationship and give themselves a chance at a normal life, but. . . .

Why am I reacting like this?

Duo used the cover of the others' distraction to study the two of them. As the laughter died down, Heero glanced at Trowa, and those unbearably sweet and beautiful and happy smiles overtook their faces as they looked at each other. Those smiles always made him feel warm inside whenever he saw them, so why. . . ? Why did it ache inside?

Duo lowered his head and stared at his hands, mouth twisting thoughtfully and a slight frown creasing his forehead. What was wrong with him? Why couldn't he be happy for his friends, who had so obviously found the happiness he wanted for them?

I am so confused. . . .

"Duo?" Quatre's concerned voice jarred him out of his thoughts, and he realised he'd been silent for far too long. A gentle hand landed on his shoulder, and he felt four pairs of eyes trying to stare through the shield of his bangs.

"Duo, what's . . . what's wrong?"

That was Trowa. Duo frowned more deeply, not ready to face them yet . . . but . . . what was that tone in his voice? He almost sounded. . . . Naw, couldn't be. . . . He couldn't be afraid. . . . What was there to be afraid of?

Rejection.

The little voice rang in his head. Trowa was afraid of rejection. He was afraid Duo wouldn't approve, that they had hurt his friendship by their relationship. . . .

"Duo?"

Heero that time. . . . The same tone in his voice. . . . Oh, God, what do I do. . . ?

You work this out another time. They need you to be happy for them: be happy for them.

Yes, that was the answer.

But how to pass off his silence. . . .

An evil grin spread over his features. "Guys . . . I don't know what to say to this. . . ."

He could see them out of the corner of his eye. . . . Ooh, they looked worried. . . .

"Other than. . . ."

Okay, Heero's tensing up. . . . Hehe, this is so much fun!

"CONGRATULATIONS!"

Duo launched himself across the table (and Wufei) to wrap an arm around each of his friend's necks and give them a throttling hug. He was laughing, and hoped the slightly forced tone was only noticeable to him. "You guys, this is so great!"

"Duo . . . air. . . ."

"Oh, oops!" Duo let go of them and slid back into his seat, grinning manically and hoping they wouldn't realise it didn't have the faintest hint of happiness in it. "So, when's the wedding?"

"Duo!"

Duo just laughed. "Gotcha real good, didn't I?"

Heero was smiling at him. "Yeah, Duo," he said, as softly as ever.

No one's attention was on Quatre. If it was, they may have seen his frown as he looked at his friend, and heard his muttered comment of, ". . . real good."

[part 2] [back to Anria's fic]